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  • Susan Welsh

My Father's Day Abecedarius


My Dad, circa 1974, Avalon NJ

Yesterday I spent an hour in the local card shop and walked out with nothing. I was looking for a Father's Day Card and the selection seemed to suggest that most fathers are defined by drinking, mowing lawns, grilling, fishing, golfing or some combination thereof. None of them captured the essence of my father. This isn't altogether Hallmark's fault; my father is a complicated man. A history of depression and anxiety has left him emotionally disconnected from family, friends, and his former self. It's a difficult task to find the card that expresses Father's Day from that perspective. Instead, I hold on to the everlasting influences and gifts he gave me throughout his time as my healthier father. Watching a loved one's mental health decline is like watching a photograph progressively fade. The shadow of memory remains even when the photograph has lost all color and definition. Still, the imprint remains in your mind's heart.

What my father instilled in me was a love of literature, the arts, music, and mostly food and wine. So this year, instead of a card, I give him an abc recount of all the specifics. Dad, with much gratitude, I thank you for. . .

Abalone in Monterey, apricots in Sunnyvale, Avalon beach

Busch's for seafood in the summertime

Crecco's in the 'Burg, antipasto

Donuts we made, shaken in a paper bag with powdered sugar

Ernie's French Onion soup on our first trip to San Francisco

Fort Ord Army Base and Farley's for books

Gatch, Lee mesmerizing painting in your closet

Hemingway and Hammett

Ipswich Clam Strips at Buddy William's on Fridays

Johnny Cash, the albums, the concert at the Allentown Fair

Kistler Chardonnay and Kruggerands

Louis Roederer Cristal, L'Orangerie, Lutece

Michaels in Santa Monica, after college graduation Noir literature, "The Maltese Falcon", Dashiell Hammett

Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel post buying Château d'Yquem

Pepperdine, God's country club and my alma mater

Quixote and the golden age of chivalry

Radio during my hospital stay, Panasonic blue Root a Toot

Seagirt in the early years, Schramsberg Cremant

Taylor, Walter meeting him at Bully Hill Vineyard, NY

Union Square, San Francisco, cable cars

Villa Richard and Valentino with tableside Caesar salad

Welsh's Wine employment and my oenological education

Xera, now Jerez, and your souvenir venenciador

Yamaha piano, sleek black upright for my birthday

Zinfandel, first tasted in Napa on our family trip in 1974


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